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Magnetic Orientation in Birds

  • Wolfgang Wiltschko
  • Roswitha Wiltschko
Chapter
Part of the Current Ornithology book series (CUOR, volume 5)

Abstract

The magnetic field of the earth provides a very reliable, omnipresent source of spatial information for all living beings. For animals, perceiving the field lines of the geomagnetic field results in an anisotropy of space: the various directions do not appear equal but can be distinguished. The magnetic field structures space in the horizontal just like the gravity field structures space in the vertical by allowing the discrimination of “up” and “down.” At the same time, total intensity and inclination of the geomagnetic field vary in space in a way that is roughly correlated with geographic latitude, so that the ambient values contain information about geographic position on the earth.

Keywords

Magnetic Storm Migratory Direction Magnetic Compass Magnetic Orientation Homing Pigeon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Wiltschko
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roswitha Wiltschko
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyJ. W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyJ. W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtFederal Republic of Germany

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